The most eye-opening and relevant film in the festival, both locally and globally, was made by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unprecedented — directed by Richard Ray Perez, and co-written by Perez and Joan Sekler, who cleaned out her savings account to produce it — plows through the murk surrounding the 2000 presidential election and makes it clear that, yes, it was stolen, but also that it was given away, by Al Gore and the Democrats. The Democrats' own attempts at wheeling and dealing backfired, as did their decision to remain silent in the face of the blatant racism at work amid the Republican political apparatus. Locating the election in a historical context of Republicans mounting a far-flung plan of black disenfranchisement and white privilege (which also managed to fuck over a lot of white folk), the exhaustively researched film is both infuriating and illuminating. Unprecedented provides a clear picture of exactly who is leading this country right now, and the snapshot is horrifying.
The Pan African Film & Arts Festival runs through Mon., Feb. 17, at Magic Johnson Theaters and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza; call (213) 896-8221 for schedule and other information, orvisit www.paff.org.